In this blog post, I’m going to talk about the differences between hypnosis and meditation.

I’ll discuss the benefits of both hypnosis and meditation and give you some insights into which one might be better for you.  You may even decide it’s worth doing both.

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Focus of Attention

Firstly, hypnosis is about being more attuned to your thoughts and less involved with the external world. It is also about being in a state of focussed attention. When reading a good book or watching a movie, there are times when you are naturally in a hypnotic or trance-like state.  You’re completely absorbed in the book or movie and less aware of what’s going on around you.

In meditation, there is sometimes a focus, such as an object or your breath.  However, the goal of that focus is to help clear your mind of thoughts.  Meditation is about achieving the absence of thought (or something close to that).


Hypnosis tends to be more goal or outcome oriented. People will see a hypnotherapist or do self-hypnosis to stop smoking, lose weight, reduce anxiety, deal with insomnia or help reduce physical symptoms.

In meditation, there is no specific outcome, except the goal of stilling the mind and relaxing the body.  This in-itself can be very beneficial and help with other issues such as reducing stress or anxiety.

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Associated v Disassociated

Hypnosis is more about being in a disassociated state.  A state where you are less aware of your surroundings and more aware of something that’s happening inside. Meditation is more about becoming completely present in the here and now.  This is known as an associated state.

Subconscious Mind

One of the primary purposes of hypnosis is to influence the subconscious mind. This can be done by working directly with the subconscious mind or by working with the conscious mind, which then influences the subconscious mind.

Meditation is more about letting go.  This could be letting go of opinions, beliefs, and preconceptions.  Doing this regularly will influence the subconscious mind, but that is not the main reason why people meditate.

Stress and Anxiety

Both hypnosis and meditation are great for reducing stress and anxiety. Hypnosis will tend to do this more directly using suggestions and guided visualizations to help you deal with stressful or anxious situations better in the future.

For meditation, the actual act of meditating will help reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind and allowing you to become more aware of anxiety producing thoughts. By meditating regularly, your mind will become less anxious and more relaxed as the habit of consciously relaxing and controlling your thoughts kicks in.


Hypnosis is not spiritual. It’s really geared toward changing behaviors, beliefs, thoughts and emotions. Meditation is sometimes connected with more spiritual practices. Meditation can provide a foundation to connect with something that is greater than ourselves, whether that is God, the Universe or something else.  However, meditation can still be very beneficial as a means of relaxation without any deeper spiritual meaning or connection.

Guided by someone else

Hypnosis tends to be guided either by a hypnotherapist, hypnotist or by a self-hypnosis recording. It is possible to do self-hypnosis without a guide, but this can be hard to do.  A good tip can be to create your own self-hypnosis recordings with suggestions to help with your own specific issue.

Meditation can be guided or unguided.  Traditionally, meditation is more around focusing on an object or your breath and then using that to be your focus of attention.  However, guided meditations (where you focus on the words of someone else) are becoming more common these days.  This is where hypnosis and meditation can overlap.   A guided self-hypnosis recording or guided meditation can often use the same processes and achieve the same aims.

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I hope you found my discussion of the differences between hypnosis and meditation useful. Hopefully you’ll realize that they are both valuable in different ways. If you can spare the time to do both, then this can really help you resolve problems, achieve goals and become more calm and centered at the same time.

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